By David E. Rapoport and Michael L. Teich
Published in Issues in Aviation Law and Policy in 2011, this article discusses the history of secrecy in air disaster cases and recent trends toward improving public access to pertinent evidence unearthed through litigation. The article analyzes a history of secrecy in air disaster litigation that clashes with the recent movement in favor of strong open access. It covers the debate over the role of confidentiality in litigation generally and in air disaster cases specifically. The authors explore the benefits of open access to information in these cases, including the impact of litigation information on safety practices within the aviation industry. The article demonstrates how the public interest is served by the erosion of secrecy in air disaster litigation and how recent case law has supported open access.